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NAD Attorney Debra Patkin explains how Video Relay Services (VRS) is a result of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). View the entire #ADA25 series at www.nad.org/ADA25.
Video begins with an off white vintage background. Three black and white photos appear. First photo shows a group of people marching, one holds a NAD poster. Second photo shows another group of people marching, one holds a poster "We Shall Overcome." Third photo shows President Bush signing the Americans with Disabilities Act. Text appears "ADA25 -- Americans with Disabilities Act". Video flashes to white then to Debra Patkin inside NAD Headquarters. On bottom left corner, "#ADA25" appears as a light watermark. On bottom right corner, the NAD logo appears, also as a light watermark.
DEBRA: Title IV of the Americans with Disabilities Act created the national relay program giving full telephone access to deaf and hard of hearing people. Initially, only TTY relay service was provided. This was a cumbersome process.
After the ADA passed, some individuals began researching ways to provide relay services in sign language – the lingua franca of millions of deaf and hard of hearing people. Several states, particularly Texas, started providing VRS in the late 1990s. These programs were a big hit and especially benefited people for whom ASL was their first language. No longer did they bear with the time-consuming process of typing in English and waiting for the other end to respond. The success of these state programs led the community to demand more access to VRS and in every corner of our country.
As a result of advocacy efforts by the NAD and other deaf and hard of hearing organizations, the Federal Communications Commission authorized providing VRS nationwide in 2000. Within a few years, VRS became one of the biggest relay service and serves many deaf and hard of hearing Americans every day. Today, we can't imagine living without Video Relay Service!
VRS has played an integral role for deaf and hard of hearing people, providing equal telephone experience.
The NAD continues to advocate for better and more functionally equivalent VRS with improved interoperability, better quality interpreting, more advanced technology, and more.
Despite the many improvements to the relay system such as VRS, the NAD believes that there is much more to be done to ensure equal access for deaf and hard of hearing Americans to telecommunications.
Video fades to a gradient background with dark blue to light blue, a grey National Association of the Deaf (NAD) logo is centered. White text below the logo appears, "A production of the National Association of the Deaf (copyright) 2015 All Rights Reserved" with four teal social media icons, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.
- ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act
- ADA Anniversary
- Hard of Hearing
- Title IV
- TRS: Telecommunications Relay Service
- VRS: Video Relay Service
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